Thanking those in education during American Education Week

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanks to the National Education Association (NEA), we have an opportunity at this time each year to celebrate our educators and the difference they make. The week before Thanksgiving was designated as American Education Week in 1921 by the NEA. (The NEA was established in 1857 to promote public education and today has more than 3 million members and remains committed to public education.)

The original purpose of this special week was to "inform the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs." This purpose is as relevant today as it was in 1921 -- if not more so.

I am writing to encourage you to join the United Way of Southeast Missouri board and staff and take time this week to thank anyone involved in education. Take a moment to call, text, email or drop a note to anyone you know in education and thank them for their service to their community.

Education is the key; the difference between success and failure, between self sufficiency and dependency, and between a strong and a weak community. Public education is more challenging every year because of many factors. A reduction in funding coupled with a changing demographic and the demands placed on testing scores creates more and more challenges for the education profession.

Thank you to our educators -- faculty, staff, board and administrators. A sincere thank you for your passion and commitment to our youth.

Educators don't get enough recognition for what they do -- they just don't. We want to change that and we appreciate your help. And we challenge you to take it one step further by considering what more you can do to support our education system. We have discovered that there are many ways to do this. Give the United Way of Southeast Missouri a call at 334-9634 to find out more.

Nancy Jernigan is the executive director of the United Way of Southeast Missouri.

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